Firmicus, Julius Maternus

Firmicus, Julius Maternus a Christian writer of the 4th century, of whom little is known. There was an astrologer of the same name and time, who wrote Matheseos lib. viii. There was a bishop of Milan of the same name, who flourished at the same time, but probably not the same person. He wrote a book, De Errore Profanarum Religionum, which he dedicated So Constantius and Constans; and from this it appears he was bred up in heathenism, and afterwards converted to the Christian faith. He is not mentioned by any ancient writer; and there is no direct evidence that he held any sacred office in the Christian Church. From internal evidence, it appears certain that the treatise was written between A.D. 343 and 350.' An analysis of it is given by Ceillier, Auteurs Sacres (Pat. 1865), 4:310 sq. The object of the treatise is to trace the history of the pagan faith, and to demonstrate the falsehood of its various forms. It adopts and applies the theory of Euhemerus (q.v.). It was first 'printed by Matthew Flacius (Strasburg, 1562); the latest separate edition is that of Munter (Copenhagen, 1826, 8vo), with prolegomena and notes. It may be found also in Bib. Mar. Patrol. 4:164; Galland, Bib. Patrol. v, 23-; and Migne, Patrol. Lat. vol. xii.

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